CITY OF NEW YORK
Board of Estimate
PRELIMINARY REPORT OF A
SPECIAL COMMITTEE CON-
SISTING OF THE CHIEF EN-
GINEER OF THE BOARD OF
ESTIMATE AND APPORTION-
MENT, THE COMMISSIONER
or ©OCKS, THE COMMIS-
SIONEitJQjr PLANT AND
STRtJCTtfRE^^ AND THE EN-
GINEER OF THE BOROUGH
< ?; OF RICHMOND
"'?'. .^ ■ Concerning
THE BROOKLYN-RICHMOND FREIGHT AND
THE OIFT OP
f 4 ti4Sl ' A^i^il? l ilMil !i 4wil!]i ( j!!^
CITY OF NEW YORK ,
Board 0/ Estimate
PRELIMINARY REPORT OF A ) ^
SPECIAL COMMITTEE CON-
SISTING OF THE CHIEF EN-
GINEER OF THE BOARD OF
ESTIMATE AND APPORTION-
MENT, THE COMMISSIONER
O.F DOCKS, THE COMMIS-
SIONER OF PLANT AND
STRUCTURES, AND THE EN-
GINEER OF (THE BOROUGH
THE BROOKLYN-RICHMOND FREIGHT AND
OCTOBER FIFTEENTH, NINETEEN TWENTY-ONE
CITY OF NEW YORK
Board of Estimate and Apportionment
October 15, 1921.
Hon. John F. Hylan^
On May 20, 1921, the undersigned were appointed by the Board of
Estimate and Apportionment as a Committee to confer with representatives
of the Pennsylvania, Long Island and Baltimore & Ohio Railroads with
respect to the development of a plan for the joint use of the proposed
Brooklyn-Richmond freight and passenger tunnel, which under fhe pro-
visions of Chapter 700 of the Laws of 1921 the Board of Estimate and
Apportionment has been directed to construct.
This action was followed on June 17th by an appropriation of $150,000
for meeting a part of the preliminary expenses incidental to the development
of plans, and the Chief Engineer of the Board was directed to assume charge
of the undertaking.
In order that the Board may be informed as to the present status of
this enterprise, the Committee begs to present the following as a preliminary
It was the understanding of your Committee that the railroad com-
panies named by the Board in its resolution appointing the Committee were
selected because tney represented the lines which seemed by reason of loca-
tion to be most directly related to the tunnel project, but after several in-
formal discussions with their representatives and a further study of the
problem, the conclusion was reached that the project concerned every one
of the trunk line railroads entering the Metropolitan District, and in that
belief a conference was held by Your Honor, at the suggestion of fnis Com-
mittee, with the executives of all these railroads with the sole exception
of one which apparently felt that its interests were too remote to be ma-
At this conference, held on July 28th, it was the consensus of opinion
that before progress could be made the engineering features would have
to be developed, and to this end a resolution was adopted recommending
the creation of an engineering committee, consisting of an engineer to be
named by fhe President of each of the railroads and the Chief Engineer
of the Board, with directions to report back on August 16th to an executive
Committee, consisting of Your Honor and the Presidents of the railroads
represented. A preliminary report of the engineering committee was pre-
sented at the next meeting, when adjournment was taken to October 25th,
with the understanding that sufficient information would then be developed
by the engineering committee to permit of constructive action.
The report of the Chief Engineer of the Board, accompanied by those
from his consulting staff and Tunnel Engineer, to the engineering com-
mittee of the railroads reviews the work which has been done, and is pre-
sented herewith to show the progress which has been made and the scope
proposed for the undertaking.
In first considering the problem it was proposed to link the tunnel
with the Long Island Railroad on the Brooklyn side of the Narrows and
with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad on the Staten Island side, in the belief
that through the use of existing' trackage it would be possible to connect
most of the trunk line railroads of the Metropolitan District and to secure
connections with the remaining roads by the construction of short links,
and it was also thought that the two tubes under consideration might be
used for both trunk line freight and passenger traffic as well as for local
passenger service. At an early stage of the investigation it developed that
the volume of tonnage which would have to be served was entirely too great
to permit the use of the same tubes for both trunk line and local passenger
service or of introducing the former on to the Baltimore & Ohio tracks
east of the Arlington Yard on Staten Island, and a further study showed
that present congestion on all other lines which could be availed of for
the development of a belt line trunk railroad in the territory adjacent to
Newark Bay was already too pronounced to justify an effort to still further
crowd them by attempting to use them for the required interchange of
freight between the roads to be served. To meet this condition the trunk
line feature of the project has been expanded greatly beyond the scope
originally contemplated and as planned by the engineers is designed to fully
meet, in a practical and broad way, all the objections which have been
raised to other schemes.
The general features are shown on the accompanying map, on which
there are also indicated suggested routes for industrial railroads along
portions of the City waterfront where such facilities are now or soon will
In the judgment of your Committee, the project as outlined in the
accompanying report should be pressed to a successful conclusion as being
advantageous to every interest affected, and as representing the greatest
stride that has ever been taken toward the proper solution of the Port of
New York problem.
In its behalf there may be claimed :
(1) A maximum benefit to the Port at a lesser cost than under any
comprehensive project heretofore submitted for public consideration;
(2) The provision of all-rail delivery from each of the trunk line rail-
roads direct into each of the Boroughs of the City and to all parts of its
industrial and commercial waterfront ;
(3) Provision for the industrial development along modern lines of
great waterfront areas within the City limits which are now lying dormant
simply for lack of rail facilities, such as Jamaica Bay, Flushing Bay, the east
side of The Bronx, and Staten Island, thereby relieving the present over-
flow, which is obliged to seek such privileges outside the State limits, and
without interference with present development;
(4) Decreased cost of delivering freight into all parts of the City due
(a) Decrease in mileage for trucking ; ,
(b) Decrease in car detention;
(c) Decrease in cost of rail service.
(5) The removal of one of the serious sources of congestion of street
traffic and particularly along the Hudson River waterfront in lower Man-
hattan, by relieving all portions of the City from other than its local freight
(6) The provision of a connection between the City and the territory
west of the Hudson River for the delivery of coal and food supplies, irrespec-
tive of harbor conditions;
(7) The encouragement of shipping through the offering of direct all-
rail connections witH piers provided 'with modem equipment and ware-
houses on main channels, near to the ocean and removed from the congested
lines of travel;
(8) An opportunity for the trunk line railroads to obtain greatly
expanded facilities and at the same time increase their net revenue at the
(9) The means for introducing passenger stations in all boroughs for
the mutual convenience of the trunk line railroads and their patrons ;
(10) A most valuable factor in the defense of the City in case of war.
In the scant time interval which has elapsed since studies were begun,
it has not seemed practicable to develop the local passenger service feature
of the project beyond the stage of insuring the line a position suitable to
meet the needs of the Borough of Richmond, nor would it seem advan-
tageous to do so until after the trunk line railroads have been given an
'Opportunity to join the City in carrying out the belt line portion of the plan.
Steps toward meeting the local passenger service needs will be included in
the plan before it is completed.
The Committee recommends that it be authorized, on behalf of the
City, to make application to the proper Federal authorities for permission to
make such borings as are required to permit of the preparation of con-
struction plans, and to secure approval of such type of construction as may
be determined upon.
ARTHUR S. TUTTLE,
Board of Estimate and ^apportionment.
Commissioner of Docks.
GROVER A. WHALEN,
Commissioner of Plant and Structures.
THEODOR S. OXHOLM,
Engineer, Borough of Richmond.
Board of Estimate and Apportionment
Office of the Chief Engineer
Arthur S. Tuttle,
October 15, 1921.
To the Engineering Committee representing the Trunk Line Railroads enter-
ing the Metro poMtan District,
At the conference held on August 16 between His Honor, the Mayor,
and the executives of the trunk Hne railroad companies entering the
MetropoUtan District, with respect to the development of a plan for the
joint use of the proposed Brooklyn-Richmond freight and passenger tunnel,
adjournment was taken to» October 25 with the understanding that in the
meantime the project would be more fully developed by the Engineering
Committee. During the lapsed interval the matter of tunnel route and
grade, has been made the subject?, of intensive study by this office and the
planning of connections with all of the trunk line railroads has also received
careful consideration. Valuable data to serve as the basis for the latter
investigation have been furnished by members of your Committee, and
have been availed of.
At the conference held between the members of this Committee on
August 9 the original suggestions as to the possible inclusion of a portion
of the Pennsylvania Railroad right-of-way in a proposed inner belt line
to reach the northern tier of railroads, and of a connection between the
New York Central and the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroads
by a line following the east side of the Harlem River were abandoned, the
former on the ground of present congestion and the latter as impracticable
for this and other reasons. A substitute route for the connection in New
Jersey was then proposed, largely dependent upon a partial appropriation
of the right-of-way of the Central Railroad of New Jersey and the con-
struction of a short link between this road and the Erie, but later advices
received from the Chief Engineer of the Jersey Central show that all of the
existing facilities of this road will be required to meet its own needs.
Studies have been made by the Chief Engineer of the New York Central
Railroad of various methods of securing a connection with the proposed
Belt Line Railroad, but without reaching a definite conclusion, and one is
now proposed by this office which seems to have peculiar advantages both
as to location and economy in construction. No constructive suggestions
have been received with respect to alternative projects for a belt line to
intercept all of the roads on the New Jersey side, while, on the other hand,
the information now available seems to establish the impracticability of
building up such a belt through the use of lines now in existence in the
highly developed section, all of which appear to be saturated, or nearly
so, with the present traffic.
Under these conditions it would seem that an entirely new belt line is
required, the location of which of necessity must be in territory less inten-
sively developed with railroads that is that bordering on and at the head of
The general route which has been selected as most advantageous for
the belt line now suggested, in order to serve all of the railroads, this
including the proposed Narrows Tunnel and the territory on the New
Jersey side, as well as the connection between the New York Central and
the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroads and a connection with
the new Stapleton piers, thereby introducing all rail service into every Bor-
ough of the City, is shown on an accompanying map prepared for the Special
Committee appointed by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment to con-
sider the matter, which map also indicates the location of a proposed indus-
trial railroad traversing the intensively developed Brooklyn waterfront along
the Upper Bay, East River and Newtown Creek, the inclusion of which in
the project would seem desirable.
It might be noted that the proposed route from Haworth, N. J., to the
Narrows Tunnel follows very closely one that was selected by Consulting
Engineer Wilgus in 1911, and which through the northerly portion was
independently located by Tunnel Engineer Snow in 1918. It has been made
the subject of reconnaissance by the Consulting Engineers and the Tunnel
Engineer in connection with the development of the present project and an
aerial survey has been made of the line.
Routes for other industrial railroads are also shown on this map,
designed to bring about the development of Jamaica Bay, the great area
adjoining Arthur Kill on the Richmond side, Flushing Bay and Flushing
River, the Hunt's Point Section of the Borough of The Bronx, and portions
of the Harlem waterfront which can easily be reached; the need for still
additional lines in all of the Boroughs is pronounced but they are not shown
on the plan for the reason that they are not at this time susceptible of as
definite routing as in the cases of those now suggested. The timeliness of
at least many of these latter projects is manifest to those familiar with
what will be their advantages as soon as jointly operated all rail facilities
can be provided, as is clearly evidenced in the case of the Arthur Kill
territory by an inspection of the activity of similar waterfront property on
the New Jersey side where rail service is rendered by the Jersey Central
Railroad. The secondary industrial belt lines are featured on the plan as
indicative of the magnitude which this project should assume in the matter
of an expansion of industrial and port facilities, and it is believed that their
construction can to at least a considerate extent be arranged for prior to
the completion of the main belt.
A copy of a report upon the tunnel feature of the project prepared by
Lh^ Jbaircbiid ^\«'*-ml Kjfint&r» xjioxrpav&iiitt. .
From aerial survey
ARTHUR KILL AT PRALL'S ISLAND, SHOWING ABSENCE OF DEVELOPMENT ON
STATEN ISLAND SIDE WHERE RAIL FACILITIES ARE LACKING
(Anchoi'ed vessels are property of the U. S. Shipping Board — the ruins of a recently burned
plant on the Nev/ Jersey side are visible in this picture)
Tunnel Engineer Jesse B. Snow is presented herewith, giving data which
have been requested in previous discussions. Plans have been developed
along fifteen separate and distinct routes based in each case on the utiliza-
tion of either a one per cent, maximum grade or a two per cent, maximum
grade. The latter gradient has been decided upon in the interest bf economy,
the construction costs- being thereby decreased more than $15,000,000.
There is also presented an analysis of the belt line project by Consult-
ing Engineer William J. Wilgus and concurred in by Consulting Engineer
John F. Sullivan, including also the suggested industrial line along the
Brooklyn waterfront, but excluding the connection between the New York,
New Haven & Hartford and the New York Central Railroads. From this
review it would seem evident that the financial as well as other advantages
to be gained by carrying out the project are great enough to serve as a
strong incentive to its inauguration, and in the belief that a review of what
has been done in the matter of constructing and operating belt line railroads
for joint use in other parts of the country would be of value in pointing the
way for putting into execution the project now under discussion, Consult-
ing Engineer Wilgus has, at my request, compiled a review of a number of
similar undertakings which have been made the subject of official reports.
The traffic statistics on which Consulting Engineer Wilgus' analysis is based
appear to be more than conservative. They do not include the 12,000,000 or
more tons to be developed annually from the new piers at Stapleton, all of
which are under lease, nor do they include a very substantial present move-
ment across the harbor which is of a more or less intangible character owing
to lack of statistics and which would doubtless seek this belt line not only
as a more direct but also as a more economical route, and particularly in the
case of freight from the northern tier of New Jersey railroads. As an
illustration of this traffic, there might be cited the great volume of milk and
produce brought into the City daily which does not appear as " interchange
freight," and which is now delivered by long Interstate and Interborough
truck haul and at correspondingly great expense.
It will be noted that the estimate presented by Tunnel Engineer Snow
is based on the use of a shield tunnel' leaving Staten. Island near the
Quarantine Station and designated on the plan as the South Route. This
tunnel, he estimates, can be constructed at a lesser cost than if the same
type of tunnel is constructed on what is designated as the North Route.
Consulting Engineers Wilgus and Sullivan express the opinion that a
trench tunnel could be built in the northerly location at a cost not more
than that estimated by Tunnel Engineer Snow for a shield tunnel in the
southerly location. The special advantages of each of these routes are set
forth in their reports, but pending progress with studies for a trench con-
struction project, and the making of necessary borings, it does not seem
wise at this time to make a final decision as to the choice between these
routes, but rather to leave the matter open for further investigation. In
any event, it would seem clear that the project is entirely practicable and
that the total cost of the proposed tunnel and its terminal connections may
be estimated at about $51,000,000.
The connection suggested between the New York Central and the New
York, New Haven & Hartford Railroads, designed to bring the former
road into the belt line, has been made the subject of study and report by
Consulting Engineer Sullivan, of which a copy is annexed hereto. This
plan seems to be free from the objections heretofore raised and not only
avoids the congested trackage along the Harlem River but will here afford
new industrial facilities and connect directly into the west side north and
south line at an advantageous point.
Lack of time has prevented field work beyond the reconnaissance stage
or the preparation of plans in anything like detail, but it is believed that the
studies as now offered are based on sufficient data to enable those interested
to reach a sound conclusion as to the advantages of the project.
A summary of the data developed shows the following:
iistimated minimum tonnage per year to be carried by the belt
line railroad as representing present sources of freight inter-
change and a portion of the service of the Brooklyn water
front 22,500,000 tons
Cost of belt line railroad complete from Haworth, N. J., to and
including the proposed classification yard in the Borough of
Richmond, say $42,000,000 00
Cost complete of trunk line freight and passenger tunnel across
the Narrows, extending from the proposed classification yard
in the Borough of Richmond to the connection with the
Long Island Railroad in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, including cost
of a connection with the Stapleton Piers and with the pro-
posed Brooklyn waterfront industrial railroad, say 51,000,000 00
Cost complete of elevated industrial railroad along the Brooklyn
waterfront from Bay Ridge to Newtown Creek, say 25,000,000 00
Cost complete of a link between the New York Central and the
New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroads, with all con-
nections, say 23,000,000 OO
Total cost of project $141,000,000 00
Estimated cost in 1918 for moving freight on trunk line railroads
to and from points between the New Haven Yard and
Haworth, N. J., including fixed and operating charges $19,000,000 00
Estimated cost of moving the same volume of freight to and
from points between the same terminals, including fixed and
operating charges, under the plan now proposed 14,000,000 00
Average estimated cost, on the basis of 1918 prices, per car
moved to and from points between the New Haven Yard and
Haworth, N. J., including fixed and operating charges 10 55
Average estimated cost, on same basis, per car moved to and
from points between the New Haven Yard and Haworth, N.
J., under proposed plan, including fixed and operatng charges 7 11
Average estimated cost, on the basis of 1918 prices, per ton of
freight moved to and from points between the New Haven
Yard and Haworth, N. J., including fixed and operating
charges • ^^
Average estimated cost, on same basis, per ton of freight moved
to and from points between the New Haven Yard and
Haworth, N. J., under proposed plan, including fixed and
operating charges 63
These estimates are based on the movement of every character of
freight, including merchandise, food supplies, coal, building materials, etc.,
and on the use of the belt line railroad for only a fractional part of the total
freight brought into and through the city It is also evident that the project
lends itself to a much more extensive use, and that with the increased ton-
nage to be expected there would be a consequent reduction in the fixed
charges, with the result of further decreasing the estimated costs under
the proposed plan.
While only general reference is made in the analysis to the possible
use of the proposed Belt Line Railroad for passenger service, its adapability
to such use for trunk line traffic entering or passing through the Metro-
politan District is evident.
To meet the local traffic needs of Staten Island, it is expected that the
City will at once proceed with the construction of a tunnel to connect into
the Fourth Avenue Subway, in the Borough of Brooklyn, with a position
immediately adjoining the proposed Trunk Line Freight and Passenger
Tunnel. At the Staten Island terminal, connections with the Staten Island
Rapid Transit Railway and the Staten Island Railway are proposed, thereby
providing long-deferred rapid transit facilities for the entire Borough.
If the Trunk Line Railroads can reach a decision in favor of the con-
struction of a connecting belt at a sufficiently early date to permit of the
entire project being carried out at one time, an undoubted saving in cost
could be effected as compared with the conduct of the work as two separate
enterprises, and in this case it would, of course, be understood that the final
location and design of the Tunnel would be made the subject of discussion
between the City and the operators.
ARTHUR S. TUTTLE,
William J. Wilgus
165 Broadway, New York
October 13, 1921.
Mr. Arthur S. Tuttle,
Chief Engineer, Board of Estimate and Apportionment,
Municipal Building, New York, N. Y.
Dear Mr. Tuttle :
In accordance with your request I am placing before you, in the
accompanying initial study, my views on the subject of an outer or Metro-
politan belt^ine railway, of which the proposed Brooklyn-Richmond
municipal tunnel would form a link for the purpose of bringing all the
trunk lines that serve the port in intimate contact with every borough of this
From this preliminary study it is apparent that a project of this kind
may be made self-supporting and, at the same time, bring to the nation, the
local communities and the carriers, great advantages, from the lack of which
the port is now suffering.
As evidence of what has been done elsewhere to increase efficiency
and foster the growth of trade and industry through the creation of belt
railways, there is annexed at the end of the accompanying study, extracts
from reports bearing on this question for Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore,
St. Louis, New Orleans, San Francisco and Montreal. All of these reports
unite in forcefully endorsing the belt line feature.
In conclusion I venture to express the earnest hope that in their
consideration of this project the City and the railroads will find ways of
overcoming the many obstacles to be expected in a project of such magni-
tude, and reach an agreement under which the tunnel may be built in a
manner that will best serve this great port and the country at large.
Very truly yours,
William J. Wilgus,
INITIAL STUDY FOR A METROPOLITAN BELT LINE IN
CONNECTION WITH THE PROPOSED BROOKLYN-
The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not the creation
of an outer belt line for the Metropolitan District is worthy of serious
consideration, in connection with the planning of the municipal Brooklyn-
Richmond tunnel under the provisions of Chapter 700 of the Laws of 1921
of the State of New York.
It is not claimed that the figures herein given are above criticism. They
are founded on the inadequate data furnished by the Port Authority, on the
records of individual tfunk lines at this port, on United States geological
contour maps, and in part on assumptions drawn from experiences else-
where. However, they are believed to be sufficiently close to warrant the
conclusion that the tunnel should be located with reference to a project
of this kind, in order that it may serve the purposes mentioned in the Act.
Origin and Volume of Freight Traffic
These are shown in detail on Exhibits A and B and are based on
information given by the Port Authority.
It appears that in 1914 the tonnages handled between the New Jersey
railroads and Long Island were as follows :
Lightered to and from the Long Island waterfront ., 8,493,000
Floated to and from the Long Island waterfront:
To the Long Island Railroad 9,140,000
Other destinations 3,207,000
To these tonnages should be added the interchanges in New Jersey,
aggregating 5,844,000 tons when counted for all of the lines or one-half
that, or 2,922,000 tons, when applied to one means of inter-connection.
Assuming that the average annual rate of increase of this traffic is
approximately 2% and that the new facilities will be ready for use in 1926,
the total increase for the twelve years would be about 25%. It may also
be assumed that only one-half of the lightered freight would be handled
by rail. On these bases the anticipated rail tonnages for 1926 have been
taken as follows:
Between New Jersey and Long Island :
To and from Long Island Railroad 11,000,000
To and from Brooklyn and Queens waterfront 9,000,000
Interchanges in New Jersey (no increase assumed) 2,500,000
Grand Total 22,500,000
Nothing is here included for the recently completed Stapleton piers.
The proposed location and profile of the entire project is illustrated
on Exhibit H. From this it will be seen that it is proposed to encircle
the Metropolitan District west of the Hudson River, from the West Shore
Railroad at Haworth on the north, via Paterson, the Passaic River, Short
Hills-Summit, Scotch Plains and Metuchen to Perth Amboy on the south.
Crossing Arthur Kill on a high level viaduct with a clearance sufficient
for masted vessels, the line bisects Staten Island from south to north for its
entire length and connects with the proposed tunnel at Clove Street. From
this point the line descends on a 1% and 2% grade to the pierhead line at
Arrietta Street, Tompkinsville, connecting en route with the existing Staten
Island Rapid Transit Railway for access to the Stapleton piers and for
passenger purposes; thence it passes beneath Upper Bay to Bay Ridge,
Brooklyn; and thence rises on a 2% grade to connections (a) with the
Long Island Railroad, over which access would be had to the Jamaica Bay
development, to points in Brooklyn, Queens and elsewhere in Long Island
and to The Bronx and New England, and (b) with the proposed Brooklyn
Waterfront Railroad on either First or Second Avenue.
In this manner all railroads in New Jersey are brought directly in
contact with each other outside of the existing congested and high-priced
areas; likewise they are brought in direct rail contact with the railroads
that serve Long Island and New England and with the Brooklyn
waterfront. Moreover, opportunities are offered for future industrial
developments in the sparsely settled areas touched by the new line in New
Jersey and along the east bank of Arthur Kill on Staten Island, and for
serving the new City piers at Stapleton and the projected great port de-
velopment at Jamaica Bay.
It is proposed to bring the trains of connecting lines into a new yard
in Richmond, and with this in mind gradients on the proposed belt have
been made so light that this course may be followed without the need for
breaking up trains at the junction points or using pushers.
It has been said that the placing of a belt line outside of the existing
" break-up " yards will necessitate new yards at the junctions , but this
would not appear to be the case if suitable classifications are made at
divisional yards to the west where solid trains for Long Island would be
dispatched on the same principle now employed on the Lehigh Valley Rail-
road in connection with a splitting of traffic at South Plainfield, the New
York Central at Spuyten Duyvil, and the Erie Railroad at North Paterson.
East of the Richmond yard the use of electric traction makes possible
much steeper gradients, as for instance 2%, as is shown in the following
examples of similar operation :
Ruling Gradient Train Loads No. and Wt. of Locos.
C M. & St. P. Ry 2.0% 2,800 tons 2—282 tons
N. & W. R. R 2.0% 3,250 tons 2—284 tons
Grand Trunk Ry 2.0% 1,000 tons 2— 66 tons
Gt. Northern Ry. 2.2% 1,500 tons 3—115 tons
M. C. R. R 1.5%&2.0% 1,800 tons 2—100 tons
In fact the train load may be made as great as may be found to be prac-
ticable from an operating standpoint, provided the adopted electric locomo-
tives are sufficiently powerful.
It is provided that crossings of both highways and railroads shall be
either over or under, thus avoiding all grade crossings^ and that the double
track main line in every way shall be built according to the most approved
The location shown on Staten Island and under the Upper Bay at the
entrance to the Narrows, has been tentatively selected for the following
1. It effectively serves the entire length of the island rather
than a small section.
2. It lends itself to a yard location that has the outstanding
advantages of (a) economy of construction by reason of compara-
tively light grading and good foundations, (b) economy of opera-
tion because of a long level stretch beyond the yard in both direc-
tions, a moderate 0.5% gradient against steam traction westbound
loads from the yard to the crossing of Arthur Kill, and short switch-
ing runs to and from Stapleton piers and objectives in Brooklyn,
(c) accessorial overhead viaduct for vehicles and pedestrians, (d)
harmonizing with the future character of the proposed industrial
development on the neighboring westerly side of the island and (e)
protection from sea attack in case of war.
3. It is out of sight in tunnel or in walled depression through
the residential part of the island north of the yard and therefore
4. It is ideal for the employment of the trench method of sub-
aqueous tunnel construction because of remoteness from ship move-
ments at Quarantine, comparatively moderate currents and depths
of water, non-interference with navigation to a marked degree, and
accessibility in connection with the securing and delivering of the
raw materials of construction. This method has the advantages
of (a) economy of construction through use of machinery and cheap
raw materials, (b) economy of operation through lessened depth
of track for the predominant eastbound loaded train movement, and
through use of a sanitary permanent type of concrete track con-
struction, (c) safety of construction methods as bearing on life and
health of workmen, and (d) saving of time of construction with
consequent reduction of interest charges and hastening of comple-
tion of the project.
5. It admirably lends itself to future rail connections with the
New Jersey waterfront at Constable Hook and with the projected
island in the Upper Bay.
6. It serves, for passenger purposes, the portion of the island
that is now most densely settled and, through trackage or other
proper agreement with the Staten Island Rapid Transit Railway, or
otherwise, may be made to serve the more sparsely settled sections
of the island as well as the industrial region along Arthur Kill.
7. It offers little likelihood of opposition from property owners
8. It minimizes the possibility of interference with future ad-
ditional water-main crossings of the Narrows.
9. It obviates the necessity of negotiating with companies hold-
ing existing franchises for rights in connection with the main freight
The section selected for the subaqueous tunnel is similar to that of the
Detroit River tunnel of the Michigan Central and Canada Southern rail-
roads, with an overhead clearance of 18 feet at the crown, and the land-
tunnel section is designed in harmony therewith.
As indicated on Exhibit C, the cost in 1918 of handling the assumed
volume of traffic between the New Jersey railroads and between them and
Long Island points was $9.50 per car, or $19,000,000.
By the proposed new line, as shown on Exhibit D the cost of handling
the same traffic, under conditions that existed during the same period, is
estimated at $3.75 per car, or $6,750,000.
The difference represents the annual savings in operation that would
result from the adoption of the new all rail, route, viz., $12,250,000.
From this is to be deducted fixed charges on the estimated cost of the
project, all as shown in detail on Exhibit E, viz., $7,250,000.
Therefore, the net annual saving, after having provided for increased
fixed charges is $5,000,000.
It may be said that against this sum should be offset the fixed charges
on the existing facilities east of the west ends of the break-up yards, which
will no longer be used for the traffic diverted to the new route, but to this
may be replied that such facilities are required and will be utilized for
the growth of business that will continue to obtain at and near fne water-
front thus relieved of a cross-water movement. In any event the project
is shown to be a self-supporting one, coupled with which are the compelling
advantages hereinafter set forth.
Impracticability of Inner Belt
The impracticability of the inner belt for heavy traffic of the kind
herein shown is demonstrated by the required frequency of train move-
ment, fifteen minutes apart under maximum conditions, as shown on Exhibit
D. This would not be permissible through territory which is not only now
congested but will become more so when contemplated developments are
completed, as for instance the new Newark port, the Hackensack River
lumber terminal, Cunard Line piers, Claremont terminal, et cetera.
Then too, the existing drawbridges would be fatal to a traffic of such
Additional Advantages of Proposed Belt Line
There are other outstanding advantages that would follow the creation
of the proposed belt line, other than the estimated saving in cost of service,
1. Military protection in time of war, of which there is a
startling instance in the case of the outer belt line at Paris during the
World War (see Railway Age Gazette, Dec. 8, 1916, page 1053).
The existence of such a coordinating feature may some day save
our national existence.
2. Improvement of service, through elimination of gross delays
and wasteful expenses to which manufacturers and merchants are
now subjected, thereby strengthening the position of this community
and the railroads that serve it, in competition with other ports and
with rival routes, as for instance the projected Great Lakes-
St. Lawrence project.
3. Development of dormant areas on the outskirts of the
Metropolitan District, to the manifest advantage of the communities
affected and the carriers, including New Jersey, Staten Island,
Jamaica Bay, Flushing Bay, Hunts Point, Harlem River and else-
4. Improved inter-relations of constituent communities, as for
instance Paterson and Brooklyn, etc. ; also improved access between
all of the inland communities and future water developments on
Staten Island and at Jamaica Bay, Flushing Bay, etc. ^
5. Unifying of terminal service of the ten trunk lines that
serve the port in such manner as to give them and the public the
inestimable advantages above set forth, accompanied by the further
advantages of combined credit and use of equipment and equal oppor-
tunities for all in sharing in the expansion of the greatest city in the
world. This may be effected through a public agency like the City of
New York, as has been done at New Orleans, San Francisco and
Montreal, or through a joint agency as in the cases of the Belt Railway
of Chicago and the Terminal Railway Association of St. Louis. The
latter appeals to the writer as being the most practicable in this
instance. Brief descriptions of the principal belt railw^ays in this
country and Canada are given in Exhibit I.
6. Freedom from harbor interruptions caused by fogs, storms,
high tides, ice and marine strikes.
7. Work for ttnemployed labor and capital on a necessary
8. T rafts formation of New York from an island to a mainland
On Exhibits F, G and H are indicated possibilities in the way of
passenger routes which will bring all the New Jersey railroads in connection
with the Fourth Avenue rapid transit subway in Brooklyn. Means are
also indicated for connecting both shores of Staten Island with the other
boroughs of the City and with the trunk lines. Provision for a separate
two-track tunnel for local passenger service is not included in this study.
This initial study indicates not only the wisdom of locating the pro-
posed municipal passenger and freight tunnel in such manner as to serve
the far-reaching purpose here outlined, but it also points to the wisdom on
the part of the railroads of cooperating whole-heartedly with the City to
make a success of a project that means so much for the nation, for the
local communities, and for the carriers.
William J. Wilgus,
October 11, 1921.
Concurred in by:
John F. Sullivan,
METROPOUTAN BELT RY,
(Records of i9l4>
EXHIBIT " C."
Road Haul, Proposed Belt Line Crossings to Break-up Yards:
Distance , ^ >^
Railroad Miles Tons Ton Miles
W. S. R. R 13.5 1,229,000 16,591,500
E. R. R 16.0 .1,048,000 16,768,000
D. L. & W, 17.0 73,000 1,241,000
C. R. R. N. J 21.0 1,353,000 28,413,000
P. R. R 15.0 1,546,000 23,190,000
L. V. R. R 17.0 595,000 10,115,000
Total 16. 5± 5,844,000 96,318,500
Say 5,500,000 90,750,000
Estimated Cost at $.0036 T. M.*.. $326,700.
Tons Ton Miles
20,840,000 344,720,000 26,684,000 441,038,500
20,000,000 330,000,000 25,500,000 420,750.000
of Cars Per Car Amount' Per Car Amount' Per Car Amount'
1 . Road Haul — Proposed Belt Line
N. J. Int 400,000
L. 1 1,600,000
Crossings to Break-up Yards 2,000,000
2. Break-up Yards 2,000,000
3. Road Haul — Break-up Yards
to Waterfront Yards 2,000,000
4. Waterfront Yards 1,600,000
5. Lightering (5,000,000 tons)
6. Floating 1,200,000
2,000,000 $6.70 $13,394,000. $2.13 $4,262,000.
Excess car per diem on 1,600,000 cars (M day per car)
Car Maintenance (running repairs only between break-up yards and waterfront,
comparable with similar item included in study for "Belt" railway)
Average Cost per Car (2,000,000 cars via present routes) Say $9.50
Average Cost per Car (1,800,000 cars via proposed Belt Line) .Say $10.55
*Same as for proposed "Belt," viz., M.E. $736,000.
$1,843,000.^ 518,200,000 T. M.=$.0036 per T. M.
PiROPOSED .Metropolitan Belt Line
No. Cars Per Car Amount
Steam Section— West Shore R. R. to Richmond
Yard 1,800,000 $2.50 $4,500,000
Eectric Section— Richmond Yard to Bay Ridge 1,620,000 0.65 1,050,000
Electric Section— Bay Ridge to Brooklyn Waterfront 726,000 1.57 1,140,000
1,800,000 $3.72± $6,690,000
Say $3.75 $6,750,000
Average Haul —
Tons Miles haul, Miles
W. S. R. R.— Richmond Yard 22,500,000 518,200,000 23
Richmond Yard— Bay Ridge 20,000,000 160,000,000 8
Brooklyn Waterfront 9,000,000 45,000,000 5
22,500,000 723,200,000 32
West Shore R. R.— Richmond
Trainst Ton Miles
. & E. R. R.
R. & D. L. & W.
&W. & <PRR
Grand Total— Interchange 60 91,200,000 7,342,000 163,440
Long Island 60 427,000,000 34,539,000 767,420
518,200,000 41,881,000 930.860
Annual Operating Expenses
1 • —
M. of W.—
Main track 145 Miles $6,000.00 $870,000.00
Sidings 70 Miles 4,000.00 280,000.00
M. of E.—
Locomotives 930,000 Loco. Miles .34 $316,000.00
Cars (running repairs only) 42,000,000 Car Miles .01 420,000,00
Locomotive wages 930,000 Train Miles . 18
Train wages 930,000 Train Miles . 24
Other locomotive and train expenses 930,000 Train Miles .12
Coal 930,000 Train Miles . 50
Locomotive rent 930,000 Train Miles . 15
Total road haul 930,000 Train Miles $1.19 $1,107,000.00
Yard switching 1,600,000 Cars 0.70 1,120,000.00
Mlscelllneous 200.00 0.00
General Expenses $200,000.00
Total $4,513,000 . 00
Per train mile H'^^^
Per car mile "/,• J.1
Per ton mile 0.009
Per car (1,800,000) 2.50
* Average loading = 21 tons per loaded car; 12.4 tons all cars,
t Average train == 45 cars.
Richmond Yard — Bay Ridge
Level 0.0 — 4.5 miles
Descendmg : 1.0 — 2. 5 miles
Ascendmg 2.0— 1 .0 miles
Locomotives (200T. ea.)
No. Cars (av. 21 tons per loaded car*) .
No. Trains :t
Daily — Max. (av. = .75 max.)
Hourly — Max. (av. = .70 max.) . . .
Time apart — minimum
Train Loads — Tons :
Freight (21T. per car)
Cars (19T. per car)
0.0 — 4. 5 miles
2.0 — 1.0 miles
1.0 — 2.5 miles
Resistance — Lbs. :
Level (10 lbs. per ton) 1,620,000,000
Ascending (30 lbs. per ton)
Ascending (50 lbs. per ton) 1,800,000,000
288,000,000 176,000,000 464,000,000
Total 3,420,000,000 2,640,000,000
K. W. H. (53.9 W. H. per T.M. ; includes lighting, pumping, etc.)
Car Miles 6,500,000 6,500,000
Locomotive Miles 300,000 300,000
Train Miles 150,000 150,000
* Total tonnage is taken from the records of the late Port and Harbor Commission.
Average weights of contents per loaded car (21 tons) and of empty car (19 tons) ;
also the ratio of E. B. to total tonnage (85%) is taken from the records of one of the
trunk lines terminating at New York.
t Average = 45 cars per train. '
** Examples elsewhere are : —
Tons Cars Max. Gradient Wt. Loco.
C M. St. P. Ry 2,800 60 iTo 2—284
N. & W. R. R 3,250 80 2.0 2—284
G. N. Ry ...; 1,500 .. 2.2 3—115
M. C R. R 1,800 45 2.0 2—100
G. T. Ry 1,000 26 2.0 2—66
Annual Operating Expenses
M. of W —
Main Track v
M. of E.—
Cars (running repairs only)
. . 13,000,000 Car miles .
600,000 Loco, miles..
Loco, wages 600,000 Loco, miles. . . 18 $108,000
Train wages 300,000 Train miles. . .24 72,000
Electricity 25,000,000 K. W. H. . . . .OVA 375,000
Other Loco, and Train expenses,. 300,000 Train miles.. .12 36,000
General Expenses $50,000
Per Train mile $3.49
Per Car mile .08
Per Ton mile (freight) .0065
Per Car .65
Bay Ridge — Brooklyn Water Front
1914 1914+25% Traffic
Tons— Car floats 3,200,000 4,000,000 4,000,000
Lighters 8,500,000 10,600.000 5,000,000
11,700,000 14,600,000 9,000,000 9,000,000
Cars (assumed average load 12.4 tons) 726,000
Trains (assumed average load, 45 cars) 16,100
Freight ton miles (assumed average haul, 5 miles) 45,000,000
Car miles 3,600,000
Train miles 80,000
Annual Operating Expenses
1 - - — —
M of W.—
M. of E.—
Road locos. ... *
80,000 Loco, miles..
3,600,000 Car miles..
80,000 Train miles..
Switching, incl. switching loco.
«- • z —
EXHIBIT " E."
ROUGHLY ESTIMATED COSTS OF CONSTRUCTION
(Exclusive of connections to Stapleton Piers and Jamaica Bay)
West Shore R. R. (Haworth) to Richmond Yard (double-track main line):
Right of Way— 60 miles at $83,333 $5,000,000
Grading— 8,100,000 c. y. at 60c 4,860,000
Tunnel (including lining), 1.3 miles at $2,000,000 2,600,000
Masonry— 120,000 c. y. at $11 1,320,000
Steel— 112,500 tons at $90 10,125,000
Track and Accessories, including signals, etc 4,720,000
Buildings, water and fuel stations, etc 750,000
Equipment, exclusive of through road power assumed to
be furnished by connecting lines and allowance made
therefor in operating costs ^ 2,870,000
Overhead percentages, including engineering, general ex-
penditures, contingencies and interest during construc-
tion, 30%, say 9,755,000 $42,000,000
Richmond Yard to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (two-track tunnel) :
(Based on figures taken from estimate of Jesse B. Snow,
Tunnel Engineer, excluding Stapleton connection but including
electric locomotives) 51,000,000
Brooklyn Waterfront Railway (double-track main line) :
(Rough estimate by John F. Sullivan, Consulting Engineer) 25,000,000
Total estirnated cost , $118,000,000
Annual fixed charges at same interest rate adopted by Port and Harbor
Commission, 5%, plus 2% for taxes on investment exterior to New
York, plus 1% for amortization of investment in N. Y., an average of
say 6% (this rate used for comparative purposes only), say.... 7,250,000
Average per car (1,800,000), say 4.00
Note— These figures are believed to be ultra-conservative. With careful planning
based on field surveys, better knowledge of sub-surface and other local conditions
and a falling market the actual cost should be far less.
EXHIBIT " I "—BELT RAILWAYS
Extracts from Report of the Terminal Commission on Terminal
Facilities of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, April 1, 1916, except
where otherwise noted.
* * * It was found by the Commission that at all of the larger cities
of the United States belt lines are either in operation or are contemplated,
and that the ablest traffic men in this and other countries agree that belt
lines are great aids to the commercial, industrial and railroad development
of a city. * * *
In Chicago, which is the greatest railroad center in the world, the Com-
mission found five belt lines in operation. City and railroad officials and
traffic experts told the members of the Commission that without these
belt Hnes the railroads of Chicago could not efficiently handle the tremendous
volume of business which converges at that point. One of these belt roads,
the Belt Railway of Chicago, serves as the principal medium of interchange
of carloa.d freight at that city. This road operates a monster clearing yard
that has a capacity of 10,000 cars a day. The charges of this road amount to
$6 a car when freight originates with the belt company, and about $4.50 a
car where the belt company acts as intermediary. The railroads enjoying the
road haul absorb these charges.
Without going into the functions of all the belt roads at Chicago, it
might be well to mention that another of these roads, the Chicago Junction
Railway, operates universal freight stations, where freight for any of the
railroads serving Chicago may be left. This company will sort freight left
at its stations and deliver it to the railroads that are to haul it. The charge
for this service is $1 per ton. The railroads absorb the charge and the
shipper gets the flat Chicago rate. This sort of thing is unknown in Boston.
In Chicago, where the shipper has a siding, the belt company takes his less
than carload shipments direct from the siding and forwards them for the
flat Chicago rate. If the shipper has not a siding, he teams his freight to
the nearest universal receiving station and his shipments are unloaded there.
But one door need be visited. He gets the flat Chicago rate, plus, of course,
the teaming cost to and from the universal station. * * *
In Philadelphia, where with a contemplated expenditure of approxi-
mately $25,000,000, the city and railroad officials are jointly engaged in
extensive port improvements, the backbone of the development is, according
to city officials and officials of business organizations, the Philadelphia Belt :
The Philadelphia Belt Line Railroad, which is a semi-public property,
was incorporated in 1891 by a group of public spirited citizens, who were
alarmed at the danger of railroad monopoly of the waterfront. A majority
of the stock of this road was placed in trust for the city. This stock is
voted by trustees, the majority of whom are elected by the principal busi-
ness organizations of Philadelphia. The road does not do an operating
business. It has a charter which permits it to lay its tracks to any portion
of the important waterfront of Philadelphia, and it has tracks which extend
along about seven miles of this frontage. Through the belt road and its
charter, any road in Philadelphia is enabled to gain entrance on an equal
basis with other railroads to any portion of the Philadelphia waterfront.
The railroads themselves have paid for the greater part of this trackage.
They operate the same and pro-rate the expense, charging each other for
interchange from $2 to $4 a car for a two-way movement.
In connection with the recent agreement between the roads and the city,
whereby the terminal improvements which are to cost approximately $25,-
000,000 are to be made, the Belt Line principle was endorsed. The agree-
ment included provision for the extensions of the tracks along the water-
front of two of the railroads and a' so for the extension of the belt line
tracks and the application of the belt line principle to the track extensions
of the two railroads in question. It is asserted by the city officials of Phil-
adelphia that prior to the establishment of the belt, the railroads virtually
divided the city against itself and that the interchange of a freight car was
a rarity. They say that the Belt Line has made the railroads more tolerant
of each other and easier to deal with. The business organizations of the
city of Philadelphia advertise the belt railroad as one of the city's greatest
advantages, and state that there is nothing like it on the northern seaboard.
" All of the large piers in the harbor are connected with the tracks of the
Pennsylvania Railroad Company, the Philadelphia and Reading Railway
Company and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company through the Phil-
adelphia Belt Line Railroad Company, a semi-public corporation. This
trackage convenience permits of direct delivery of goods brought from
manufacturing plants to the vessels, the Belt Line tracks running into all
of the modern piers. The use of the Belt Line, with its direct track con-
nections from pier to vessels, eliminates the costly work of lightering."
(Extract from ** Port of Philadelphia," November, 1919.)
The city of Baltimore is expending $2,000,000 on marginal streets and a
belt railroad which is intended to connect all of the railroads in the city.
While this road is now operated for only about 1% niiles and at present
connects with but one of the three principal railroads, the officials of that
city told the members of the Terminal Commission that the belt and the
highway have already done much to develop a section of the city which
had remained industrially stagnant for fifty years. The principal marginal
street in Baltimore is known as the Key Highway.
" The city is now constructing in the beds of these several streets the
Municipal Harbor Railroad, a railroad owned and to be operated by the
municipality. The road will connect the three trunk lines which serve the
city. * * * Through the building and operating of this Municipal Har-
bor Railroad by the city, manufacturing and industrial concerns of Balti-
more will enjoy the advantage of the flat Baltimore rate and the elimination
of high switching charges." (Extract from " Port of Baltimore, 1918.")
Two belt railroads were found by the Commission in St. Louis. Both
are operated by the Terminal Railroad Association of that city. This is
a regularly incorporated company which does a passenger and freight
terminal business, and its stock is held b}^ the fifteen companies which it
serves. The association has been in existence upwards of twoscore of
years. It does not pay any dividends; its profits are put into equipment
when receipts exceed expenses, and any deficit if not made up by future
business is pro-rated among the owner companies. The officials of this
road told the Commission that between 75 per cent, and 80 per cent., of
the freight business of St. Louis is handled by this association and that
the tracks of the association belt line extend 25 miles beyond the station.
This association does an interchange business between all the railroads and
maintains warehouses for the receipt and delivery of less than carload lots,
and terminals for the receipt and delivery of carload lots. It also does an
interchange business between various industries located along these tracks
and those of the railroads. It handled on an average 10,120 freight cars
a day in 1914, and a total of 3,693,996 cars for the year.
It was stated by the officials of this association that one of its belt
lines was built in 1903 and that at the close of the World's Fair in 1904
there was not a single industry on it. The belt line now has between 35
and 40 industries located on it, and does a business of three hundred cars
a day between these industries. It was built on swamp land worth about
$100 an acre ; parts of it are now worth $5,000 an acre, according to the
officials of this association. These officials say that the industries have
increased the valuation of the city, given employment to many people, and
stimulated the growth of the city's business.
In New Orleans, where $25,000,000 is being expended in the develop-
ment of the waterfront facilities, the city officials, and officers of the local
traffic association told the members of the Commission that the backbone
of the transportation improvements of the City of New Orleans is the public
belt railroad which is owned and operated by the city. The waterfront
of that city is being developed by a state commission. This development
is being accomplished on a broad scale and little is being left undone to
make New Orleans one of the great ports of the world; yet the traffic
experts of that city publicly declared to members of the Terminal Com-
mission that these extensive waterfront improvements would be of com-
paratively small value to the city were it not for the fact that the great
docks and wharves that have been and are being constructed there are and
will be served by a public belt railroad, which will permit all railroads
serving New Orleans to obtain access to the New Orleans waterfront on
an equal basis and at a minimum expense. The public belt road of New
Orleans is under the direction of an unpaid commission of 17 persons, 11
of whom are appointed from the membership of the commercial organiza-
tions of the city, and 5 appointed by the mayor from the city at large.
The mayor is ex-officio president of the corporation. This road has about
40 miles of track and is to be extended. It has 10 miles of double track
along the principal section of the waterfront, where it has exclusive track
connection with all of the public wharves. In 1914 it had a net operating
surplus of $63,064.15. The first $500,000 used for the construction of
this road was appropriated from the city treasury. A bond issue of
$2,000,000 was authorized for the construction of the road and about
$1,000,000 of this has b^^n thus far expended. The earnings of the belt
line are supposed to pay the interest charges and to pay off the bonds as
they come due.
In New Orleans the city officials stated to the Commission that the
public belt road which operates its own engines charges but $2 a car for
interchanging. The officials stated that prior to the establishment of the
public belt railroad, the railroads of the city '' were at each other's throats,"
as it were, and charged as high as $20 a car for interchange service.
In addition to affording the railroads prompt and impartial service, the
public belt of New Orleans has, according to the officials of that city, at-
tracted industries to the city. City officials say that they are confident that
it is destined to become a tremendous factor in the industrial development of
" The New Orleans Public Belt Railroad is a terminal switching rail-
road owned exclusively by the City of New Orleans, and operated and con-
trolled by the said municipality. * * *
" The purpose of the Public Belt Railroad is to supply comprehensive,
economical and non-discriminatory switching service to all who require and
can use same. It transfers cars from railroads to railroads, from railroads
to wharves, from wharves to railroads, from railroads to industries and
public delivery tracks, from industries to all transportation outlets of the
city, and makes available to railroads that desire an entrance into the city,
all of the said railroad, wharf and individual switch connections at a low
charge." (Extracts from " Facts Regarding the New Orleans Public Belt
Railroad," October 15, 1919.)
At San Francisco there is a public belt road in operation. This road,
the officials have stated in a letter to the Terminal Commission, is on a
paying basis. It is owned and operated by the State under the jurisdiction
of the Board of Harbor Commissioners of San Francisco. It was con-
structed in 1890-92 and its main line is 6.7 miles long, while its spur, indus-
try, and team tracks extend over 19.1 miles. The officials of the Board
of Harbor Commissioners stated that the shippers of San Francisco can
now send a car from one end of the waterfront to the other for $5, whereas
previously this operation was performed by the railroad companies via
barge and cost $10 and $15 per car.
There are in all 115 different industries located on the tracks of the
San Francisco belt, while other industries not having spur track connec-
tions use the belt tracks and pay a cash rental per car per day, according
to the officials of the Board of Harbor Commissioners. The latter in com-
munications sent to the Terminal Commission said that undoubtedly many
industries located in San Francisco because they were assured of the belt
railroad service. The road handled, in 1914, 230 cars a day. In 1913 the
belt railroad was extended at the request of the military authorities, through
the Fort Mason Military Reservation to serve the United States army trans-
port docks at the north of that reservation. An extension from the trans-
port docks to the Presidio, one of the largest military reservations in the
United States, is contemplated. The charges of the belt road run from
$2.50 to $5 a car.
" By these constructions and extensions, a continuous belt railroad
switching system, adequately equipped, is now in full and successful opera-
tion around the whole active harbor front of San Francisco, from the
United States transport docks on the north and west to Channel Street on
the south. It is a tremendous gain to the harbor, and its real advantages
only become properly estimated when it is recollected that even such a
great seaport as New York has no harbor belt line." (Extract from " Bien-
nial Report of the Board of State Harbor Commissioners," 1916.)
At Montreal the only Canadian city visited by the Commission, the
same keen understanding of the proper methods to promote the advance-
ment of a city that is evidenced in the more progressive cities of this country,
was apparent. The waterfront of this city is under the jurisdiction of a
Federal board. The officials of this Federal Commission, after having
visited the principal ports of the world, are enthusiastic advocates of the
belt railroad. The Montreal public belt road which extends along the
harbor front was constructed by the Board of Harbor Commissioners a
number of years ago. At first the railroads were allowed to operate it
jointly. As a result of the quarreling between the railroads, it was finally
decided by the Commission to take over the work of operating this belt road
themselves. This venture, the Commissioners stated, has proven a success
and the belt railroad has tremendously aided the phenomenal growth of
this great port. It is on a paying basis financially.
This road charges $2.50 a car for interchanging between the ships and
the railroads and $5 a car for interchanging cars between the railroads.
Officials say that they can do this work much cheaper than the railroads
can do it themselves, and that for the same service which they render the
railroads for $5 a car, the railroads have charged each other as high as
$15 a car.
According to statements of the Montreal harbor officials, not a single
complaint regarding the movement of freight has reached the Commissioners
since the establishment in 1907 of their traffic department, which operates
the terminals. Respecting this, a Montreal official said, " And what this
means can be readily appreciated by your Commission, as the efficiency and
despatch of a port depends more upon this fact than; upon any other. Ineffi-
ciency spells congestion in a very short time."
The Harbor Commissioners and railroad officials met by the members
of the Terminal Commission were inclined to smile at the terminal facilities
of Boston, with which they are familiar. They suggested that Boston could
learn much from San Francisco, New Orleans and other American cities,
particularly the two former. * * *
In their report for 1915, which has just been issued, the Montreal
Harbor Commissioners, than whom there are no more progressive respecting
port development, have this to say : " The operation of the railway terminals
has proved to be one of the most important and successful features of the
development of the Harbor of Montreal."
Respecting the Public Belt Railroad, this same report says : " The
rates charged by the Harbour Commissioners for this service are so moder-
ate and the existing facilities and manner of operation give such good
despatch that there is an immediate urgent demand by the new industries
rapidly springing up along the waterfront for the prolongation of the harbor
terminals to new sites and to industrial wharves specially being constructed.
" Probably no feature of harbour development will give such good
results to the industrial growth of the city and at the same time to the
success of the harbour."
" * * * The development of the harbour during the last twelve
years has in view the best possible connection between the Harbour Ter-
minal Railway and the ocean steamship berths. In addition to this, the con-
struction of the High Level Marginal Railway gives close and prompt
transfer of cars between one railway and another and connects with the
many growing industries along the rapidly developing waterfront. * * *
The success of the Montreal Hairbour Railway Terminals may best be
exemplified by the table showing the mileage and cars handled, for the last
ten years. From this table it will be seen that the mileage has about doubled ;
car handling increased about four times and financial returns nearly five
Mileage of Number
Harbor Rail- of Cars
way Tracks, Handled by
" * * * The Montreal Harbour Railway Terminals consist of sur-
face lines situated between Victoria Bridge and the end of the piers on the
south side of the canal ; and the Marginal lines from McGill Street down
to the Imperial Oil Wharf at Montreal East; having a total trackage of
55.35 miles, h^ * * "
" Much of the success in Montreal Harbour is due to despatch in load-
ing vessels and unloading cars, and effort is made by direction of the
Harbour Commissioners for a prompt and efficient service. So successful
has this service been that there was not a single complaint, although many
might have been expected during the 200 consecutive working days in the
Montreal Harbour navigation season."
" The extension of the Harbour Commissioners' Marginal Railway
eastward along the river front of the Harbour of Montreal has already
resulted in wonderful industrial activity from Hochelaga to Pointe-aux-
Trembles. A few years ago the Montreal Cotton Mill was the limit of the
industrial development along the waterfront in the eastern part of the City
of Montreal. With the development of the harbour and the extension of
the High Level Railways and the active operation of the railway terminals,
this valuable manufacturing district has entered upon a new era of pros-
perity. * * *" (Extracts from the " Harbour of Montreal Annual Report,
John F. Sullivax
233 Broadway, New York
October 14, 1921.
Mr. Arthur S. Tuttle,
Board of Estimate and Apportionment,
New York City.
Dear Sir: —
Pursuant to your request I transmit herewith a report embodying a
suggestion for a Manhattan-Bronx Tunnel as a part of the comprehensive
Belt Line System which has been under consideration.
Very truly yours,
JOHN F. SULLIVAN,
The studies that have been made for the proposed Brooklyn-Richmond
Tunnel under the provisions of Chapter 700 of the Laws of 1921 have
revealed a situation that makes it important that in considering any com-
prehensive plan for the development of the City and Port of New York
that through rail facilities be provided for all of the five Boroughs of the
It has been impracticable within the time allotted and the limited
information available to make other than a tentative suggestion of a route
via which the New York Connecting and New^ Haven Railroads in The
Bronx may be connected with the New York Central Railroad in Man-
hattan via a tunnel that will be so located as to offer the maximum of
advantages with a minimum of objections.
About 13,350,000 tons of freight of New Jersey Railroads was handled
for Manhattan and The Bronx exclusive of about 4,850,000 tons to railroad
stations south of Sixtieth Street' in 1914, but the details of the tonnage,
commodities and character of freight business that would be handled by
such a connecting line as herein suggested are not as yet available, and
though the report of the New York-New Jersey Port and Harbor Develop-
ment Commission contains some general figures, there were no details
available upon which a definite analysis could be made for this section
of the City.
The suggestion that a belt' line railroad be constructed in New Jersey
to connect with a line to be constructed across Staten Island thence via
tunnel to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, there to connect with the present Long
Island and connecting railroads, emphasizes the importance of having
the New York Central connected to such a terminal system as it is con-
templated that important developments, such as all rail facilities to the
Brooklyn Waterfront and industrial districts, Jamaica Bay, Stapleton Piers,
Flushing Bay, Hunts Point, the Municipal Terminal Market in The Bronx
and similar facilities and industrial district will require the service flex-
ibility and dispatch of a terminal system jointly operated by all of the
railroads of the City and Port, especially if commercial supremacy is to
be maintained and the needs of economically handling domestic as^ well as
competitive foreign shipments is to be accomplished.
All rail delivery of freight through the medium of a terminal system' will
permit of car delivery to given points, from which trucking may be done
within given zones, with the result that street congestion and non-productive
time of the trucks could be materially reduced.
A tunnel such as is herein proposed in connection with existing rail
facilities and the general development that contemplates the connecting up
of all of the trunk lines of the City and Port of New York for standard
railroad equipment has the advantages of not interfering with the operation
of existing facilities during the periods of construction or of any contem-
plated expansion of passenger facilities, places no restrictions as to the
commodities to be handled or class of service and practically eliminates delays
in traffic due to weather conditions and other items incidental to the opera-
tion of floating equipment for the interchange of freight ; furthermore, there
will be a material reduction in harbor congestion and a reduction of the
necessity of waterfront occupancy by railroads for local terminal facilities.
Proposed Location of Tunnel.
The general location of the proposed tunnel is illustrated on Exhibit
No. 4 (by a heavy dotted line) and is presented as the most desirable of
several routes studied.
In general there' would be a double track tunnel about 3.7 miles in length
from connections with the New York Central Line on the Hudson River
south of Fort Washington Park; thence easterly under West 168th Street,
in Manhattan, under the Harlem River; thence easterly along the line of
East 168th Street, East 169th Street, Southern Boulevard and under the
present passenger tracks of the New Haven Railroad to about Longwood
Avenue, in The Bronx, when the tracks would be so connected as to permit
of head-on connection to the connecting railroad over the Hell Gate Bridge,
or to the New- Haven Yards at Oak Point.
The entire tunnel length may be constructed on satisfactory operating
grades and at an elevation that will prevent grade crossings of traffic and a
minimum of interference with existing structures and utilities.
A connection on the east side of the Harlem River will provide direct
rail service to the proposed Municipal Terminal Market and permit of the
development of a marginal belt line railroad in The Bronx, upon which
jointly operated stations could be located at points that would be convenient
to existing city bridges, thereby giving both Manhattan and The Bronx the
advantage of such facilities.
Exhibits Nos. 1, 2 and 3 illustrate the suggested connections of the
proposed tunnel to the New York Central, the Harlem River Belt Line and
the New Haven Railroads.
Right of Way ... ^.... $2,000,000 00
Double Track Tunnel and Approaches 16,760,000 00
Track Electrification, Signals, etc I'OOO^OOO 00
^ . . T^t^ :••••.• - $19,760,000 00
Legal and Contingencies 2,964,000 00
Total Estimate Cost of Tunnel $22,724,000 00
Summary oi Advantages of Proposed Tunnels.
1. The five Boroughs of the Greater City would be linked with the
trunk lines of the Port— thereby presenting the opportunity for all of the
industries and marine facilities of this territory to be in direct rail com-
munication with the commerce of the Nation.
2. Improvements in time of delivery, car movements, flexibility and
ultimate cost of handling shipments.
3. Opportunity to better the methods of distributing food, milk, express
and possibly baggage and mail.
4. Of great value in an emergency for use, either of passenger or
freight service, in the event of the necessity of temporary diversion of
traffic from existing channels.
JOHN F. SULLIVAN,
Concurred in by
W. J. WILGUS,
PRELIMINARY REPORT ON THE LOCATION AND COST OF
THE BROOKLYN-RICHMOND FREIGHT AND
CITY OF NEW YORK
Board of Estimate and Apportionment
Office of the Chief Engineer
Arthur S. Tuttle,
Jesse B. Snow^
October 14, 1921.
Mr. Arthur S. Tuttle,
Chief Engineer, Board of Estimate and Apportionment,
Municipal Building, New York City.
The following is submitted as a preliminary report on the location and
cost of a tunnel for freight and passenger traffic between the Boroughs of
Brooklyn and Richmond :
Chapter 700 of the Laws of 1921, Section 1, authorizes and requires
" The Board of Estimate and Apportionment of the City of
New York shall within two years after the taking effect of this Act
begin the construction of a Railroad Tunnel under New York Bay
between the Boroughs of Richmond and Brooklyn. Such tunnel
shall be used for both freight and passenger purposes. ^ ^ ^
The said Board may select the sites necessary for such tunnel and
the terminals thereof * * *."
It was at once recognized that to carry out the provisions of this Act
and best serve the interests of the City of New York, the tunnel must be
located so as to provide suitable connections with all of the trunk line rail-
roads entering the Metropolitan District, and also to provide connections
with the Staten Island railroads to meet the growing demand of Staten
Island for passenger service. It must also provide a connection with the
City's piers at Stapleton, and permit future connections with the City's pro-
posed development of Jamaica Bay and with the suggested industrial rail-
roads and other water terminals in the Boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn,
Queens, The Bronx and Richmond.
Up to the present time our investigations have been largely devoted to
the studies of a tunnel for freight purposes only, as it was believed that
this question should be given first consideration. If the railroads look upon
the proposed tunnel favorably, it will be necessary to construct additional
tubes for local passenger traffic, but the location selected is such that in
case the railroads should not consider the project favorably, connections
can be made with the Staten Island railroads in Richmond and the Fourth
Avenue subway in Brooklyn, and permit the use of the tunnel for pas-
senger service until sucn time as the railroads feel that their business war-
rants their consideration of the project.
In the brief time allowed it has been impossible to make any detailed
surveys, or to prepare extensive plans. Data obtained by the Transit Com-
mission in its investigation for a tunnel under the Narrows, and by the
Board of Water Supply in connection with the construction of the Narrows
Siphon were made available by these bodies. Recourse was also had to
the anchorage chart of New York Harbor, published by the United States
Coast and Geodetic Survey, to the topographic maps of the Borough of
Richmond, to right of way maps and profiles of the Staten Island and
Long Island Railroads, and to the records of your office.
In Brooklyn and Queens the location of the Long Island Railroad and
the New York Connecting Railroad offered opportunities from which all
the desired connections on the easterly side of the Narrows could be made.
In Richmond it was found that the Staten Island Rapid Transit Rail-
way, the only available one at present existing on the Island, would be
inadequate to handle the expected volume of traffic without very complete
reconstruction. Furthermore, this road has no yard suitable for handling
the expected volume of traffic. Therefore it will be necessary to build a
large classification yard. There are but few sites available for a yard of
the size required to handle the estimated volume of traffic, and, at the same
time, suitable , for connections with the New Jersey trunk line railroads.
In investigating possible sites for the classification yard, it was endeavored
to obtain sites removed as far as possible from existing or developing resi-
dential districts and to obtain locations best suited for industrial or com-
mercial development. With these limitations two principal sites are avail-
able, as follows:
L The district at the foot of the western slope of the Staten Island
hills near the centre of the island.
2. The low ground at the head of Richmond Creek near the Village
The first site lies south of the residential area along the north shore
and provides a suitable connection for any tunnel line passing directly west
from the Narrows through the main range of hills, and also with any rail-
road entering Staten Island from the west between the B. & O. R. R. bridge
on the north and Perth Amboy on the south.
The second site, at the head of Richmond Creek, provides suitable con-
nections for any tunnel line having its portal east of the main range of
hills, as well as with railroad lines entering the Island from the west.
Maximum Grade: In view of the grave objections to steam locomo-
tives in tunnels, and the satisfactory results obtained elsewhere by electric
traction, it is apparent that the latter should be adopted for the operation
of this tunnel. With electric traction, the weight and power of the locomo-
tive can be increased almost indefinitely. The selection of the maximum
grade, therefore, appears to be influenced chiefly by the strength of existing
draft gear in ordinary freight service. In our studies of the various routes,
the cost of the tunnel was estimated for both 1 per cent, and 2 per cent.
maximum grades, with the result that the latter grade indicated a saving of
t)ver $15,000,000. Still steeper grades, operated with pushers, show very
large savings in first cost, and from the purely economic standpoint appear
justifiable, even with very heavy traffic. Practical considerations, however,
have resulted in the selection of a maximum grade, of 2 per cent, for the
purposes of this report. This will reduce pusher operation to a minimum,
and, furthermore, we have the precedent of the successful electric operation
of a number of existing trunk railroads, which handle long and heavy freight
trains on grades of 2 per cent, and 2.2 per cent.
Maximum Curvature. The maximum curvature for tunnel align-
ment should be in harmony with existing practice on the Long Island and
New York Connecting Railroads, and, with a view to keeping the Tunnel
Section as small as possible, it is recommended that a maximum curvature
of 3 degrees be adopted.
Government Limitations. At a conference with the United States
District Engineer in whose jurisdiction the Tunnel would be located, it
developed that the War Department would permit no permanent structure
above a plane 50 feet below mean low water between pierhead lines, and
further, even below this plane, the War Department would probably be
opposed to any encroachment above the existing river bottom, because of
its possible effect upon tidal velocities. In our preliminary studies the top
of the tunriel has been located so as to provide a permanent cover of material
between it and the river bottom at its lowest point, and it is located at least
10 feet below the dredging plane at all points.
Clearances and Cross Sections. The minimum possible interior
cross section of tunnel has been determined by a study of the largest types
of rolling stock now in use on the railroads entering New York City. This
has resulted in the adoption of the sections shown on Plate No. 1.
The construction of a tunnel under the Narrows is limited to about two
miles of shore front extending in Brooklyn from 67th street on the north
to 95th street on the south, and in Staten Island from St, George on the
north to the U. S. Government Reservation on the south.
In order to determine the most economical line on which the Narrows
could be crossed under the limitations imposed by the U. S. Government
as to depth below water at which the permanent structure must be built,
and as to the depth below which a temporary blanket over the tunnel for
construction purposes must be kept, a contour map of the bottom of the
Narrows was plotted from data given on the anchorage chart of New York
Harbor. Eight different crossings, which would terminate at the most
advantageous points in Brooklyn and Richmond, were then selected, and
profiles of these lines plotted. Variations in the land approaches to these
crossings to give the most economical type of land structure led to the study
of fifteen routes. Most of these routes were studied for 1 per cent, and
2 per cent, grades in both Brooklyn and Richmond.
It was found that in all cases the cost of the 1% grade lines was so
much in excess of the cost of the 2% grade lines that in accordance with
the studies outlined above the saving in operating costs on a 1% line did
not warrant its adoption. The studies were narrowed down, therefore, to
2% grades, except where existing conditions made it desirable to keep the
tracks depressed for such a length that the additional cost of a flatter grade
was deemed warranted.
In the laying out of the routes the desirability of long tangents and
the minimum amount of curvature was kept constantly in mind, as well as
the locations for classification yards.
After estimating the cost of all the lines, the question of alignment was
considered in the light of the comparative costs of the different routes.
This led to the elimination of twelve of the routes, and thenceforth studies
were concentrated upon two northerly routes, one crossing the Narrows
from Owls Head Park in Brooklyn to Arrietta Street, in Richmond and the
other from Owls Head Park in Brooklyn to Hyatt Street in Richmond,
and upon one southerly route crossing from the vicinity of 86th Street
in Brooklyn to near Maryland Avenue in Richmond. For these routes, con-
nections to the Stapleton Piers and to the suggested industrial railroad along
the Brooklyn waterfront were provided.
Of the two northerly crossings the one at Arrietta Street, in Richmond,
was considered highly inadvisable, due to the location of the Catskill Water
Supply pipe in this street, as it would necessitate the laying of another water
main from Brooklyn before any work could be started on the construction
of the tunnel near the Staten Island shore, and further, it would involve a
large expense in the restoration of the facilities which the location of the
tunnel on this line would destroy. Further, a route practically identical in
every respect could be obtained by using the Hyatt Street crossing, but the
relative cost of the two lines cannot be accurately determined without a
complete set of borings.
The northerly routes offer some advantages for operation beyond the
tunnel terminal in Staten Island, but these are believed to be insufficient to
overcome the estimated difference in cost of $9,000,000 between them and
the southerly route, so that, for this reason, the southerly route is favored.
The route that I recommend extends from the Long Island Railroad,
near Sixth Avenue, Brooklyn, under private property and City streets to the
bulkhead near the foot of 86th Street ; thence under the Narrows to Staten
Island, near the foot of Maryland Avenue ; thence under private property
to a crossing under the State Island Railway between Grasmere and
Dongan Hills; thence on a private right of way and parallel with the
Staten Island Railway to Grant City; thence curving to the westward and
continuing on private right of way to the Classification Yard, located near
Richmond, Staten Island. The total length of the above line is about eight
and one-half miles. This line, together with a connection to the Stapleton
Piers, is shown on Plate No. 1. A connection for a possible future industrial
railroad along the Brooklyn waterfront is also indicated on this Plate. The
profile of this line is shown on Plate No. 2.
In the short time available for making these studies it has not been
possible to investigate thoroughly various methods of building the tunnel
under the Narrows. Because of this fact, all of the estimates have been
prepared for twin cast-iron tubes 24 feet outside diameter, as shown on
Plate 1, built by the shield method under compressed air. This method of
construction has been thoroughly tried out in New York City and elsewhere
during the past 100 years and has been selected as the best type for all the
tunnels heretofore built or now contemplated under the East River and the
North River, New York City. It was, .therefore, most logical to prepare
the estimates upon a basis of construction concerning which the most accu-
rate predictions as to costs, progress and ultimate success could be made.
It IS believed that some form of trench construction might materially
reduce the cost of the Narrows section of the work, but further careful
studies of all local conditions affecting its application to this problem must
be made before this method could be decided upon. The effect of the
adoption of the trench method on the relative costs of the northerly and
southerly routes would be to reduce the cost of each, but my studies lead
me to the belief that the southerly route would still be the less costly.
For the land tunnels, twin cast-iron tubes lined with concrete, built
by the shield method, are proposed below water, and will be necessary
whatever type of construction for the Narrows crossing is finally adopted.
Rectangular sections of the ordinary steel bent and concrete type as shown
on Plate No. 1 are proposed for tunnels above water in thickly populated
districts. In Richmond, where part of trie tunnel through soft ground, above
water, is in undeveloped districts, the concrete section shown on Plate No. 1
is proposed. For the approaches to the tunnel, standard railroad construc-
tion is proposed.
The estimate of cost of construction of the shield-driven tunnels, and
of the soft ground tunnel, has been derived from a detailed analysis of
contractor's plant, labor and materials, general office expenses, bond pre^
miums, liability insurance, overhead superintendence, contingencies and
profit. The rate of progress assumed for this work is based on the progress
obtained in previous work of this character. All other estimates have
been largely based on unit prices, which have been obtained from the cost
of similar work carried out in New York City and elsewhere, modified to
meet present-day prices.
The preliminary estimate of cost of a two-track tunnel on the southerly
route is as follows :
Including connection to the Stapleton piers and based on present-day
prices for labor and materials, with an allowance for contractors'
contingencies and profit $34,261,000
Including track, third rail, sub-stations, transmission, ventilation, pump-
ing, lighting, signals, telegraph and telephone lines, etc 2,073,000
In which is included design, supervision and inspection, estimated at
6% of cost of tunnel construction and equipment 2,180,000
Administration and Legal Expenses:
Estimated at 2% of the cost of tunnel construction and equipment.... 727,000
Total ' $39,241,000
Real Estate and Easements 1,500,000
To provide for fluctuation in cost of labor and materials, claims, acci-
dents, etc., estimated at 10% of the above total 4,074,000
Brooklyn Freight Connection, including Real Estate, Engineering, Admin-
istration and Contingencies 6,000,000
The time required for construction is estimated to be from five to six
It is recommended that authorization be given to prepare a contract and
specifications for borings and for the preparation of the contract, specifica-
tions and plans for Twin Shield-Driven Cast Iron Tubes, and for alternative
plans for a trench tunnel.
In conclusion, I desire to/ record my indebtedness to the members of the
engineering staff for the valuable services rendered, and particularly to
Principal Assistant Engineer Charles D. Drew, Resident Engineer William
McK. Griffin and Designing Engineer Albert E. Hill.
J. B. SNOW,
M. B. Brown Printing 3t Binding Co..
JAN 6 \m
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
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